Friday, December 2, 2011

Tacky Christmas Sweater Party

The kids and I are going to a Tacky Christmas Sweater party tonight.  Although it's a fun idea, I'm pretty sure I don't have anything in my closet that qualifies as a tacky Christmas sweater.  I don't even have a sweater in Christmasy colors that I could embellish.  I know I should have made time to visit the local thrift shops, but the thought of sifting through all those clothes in search of an elusive Christmas sweater is a little daunting.  Especially if I have to bring a three-year old with me.  

Well, maybe I could make something....   My mind begins to drift back to my pre-teen years.  At our family resort, there were these women who visited us once or twice a summer, selling handmade rugs and hand-painted clothing.  They used a combination of fabric paint, puff paint, glitter and sequins to design wearable art.  Some of it had geometric designs, some was abstract, some had carousel horses or drama masks, or flowers.  Each one was unique and different, but vibrant and beautiful.  To this day I can still see some of their colorful, sparkly designs in my head.  I have to admit they were true works of art.  My mom used to buy one for each of my sisters and me, and she gave them to us at Christmas or on our birthdays.  Although I probably wouldn't wear one of these ensembles today, it was totally appropriate in the 80's (don't even try to convince me otherwise).   I don't know what ever happened to those women or to the particular shirts I owned.  I'm sure I gave my shirts away as I grew out of them, but I probably should have saved them, or at least taken a photo to remember them.  It's hard to know which memories will be the ones that stand out later in life.

So my brain starts to go off on this little tangent...if I bend the tacky sweater rules a little, I could take a T-shirt and bling it out with felt, puff-paint and iron-on rhinestones, similar to the ones I remember, but way over the top tacky.

Okay, stop.  This is exactly the kind of thing that makes my mother shake her head.  Here I am, the day of the party, with less than 8 hours before I have to leave the house, and I'm trying to plan out how I might MAKE my outfit. 

Here's a little history lessonabout me:  About 5 years ago, we were invited to a Halloween party through my husband's work.  I knew all the men would be going as pirates, and hence most of the women were going as female pirates.  I really didn't want to be a pirate chick (at least I really didn't want to wear any of the racy pirate costumes I had found). So I decided to go as Elizabeth Swan, (you know, from the Pirates of the Carribbean movies).  Her costume is gorgeous.  But of course, I couldn't find a single Victorian looking dress that would work.  All the period style dresses were the wrong colors.  They were either goth looking black and purple or vampire looking black and red.  So, I resorted to sewing my own dress....the day before the party. 

I must declare at this point, that my previous sewing experience had been limited to baby quilts and curtains.  I had never sewn clothes (I'm not counting that jumper I made in home-ec during high school, because that was hideous).  Despite my inexperience, I am completely determined.  I convince my naiive self that if I can sew curtains, I can darn well sew a dress.  I mean, really, how hard can it be?

I bought a sewing pattern and $80 worth of material, lace, ribbon, and other things I needed for the dress and I proceeded to stay up the entire night working on that thing.  I had absolutely no idea what I had gotten myself into.  My niece, Mary, got sucked into helping me with the project when I finally realized it would not get finished on time.  She continued working on it, so I could take a brief nap mid-morning on the day of the party.  An hour before the party, I was absolutely distraught.  I realized if I put the zipper in the way I was supposed to, the dress would not fit me.  I had taken out the seems on the bodice twice by this time, and had no more seam allowance left to work with.  I was in tears, because I felt like I not only wasted all that money, but time and sleep as well, with nothing to show for it.  I was tempted to skip that dumb party and sleep it off. 

But then, my wonderful husband had a brilliant idea to make holes on both sides and lace up the back with ribbon, just like lacing up a shoe.  Genius I tell you.  We missed 30 minutes of the cocktail hour, but the dress was finished and it was beautiful.  I wear that darn dress every opportunity I get.

Michael, Isaac, Natalie and I at a Halloween Party in 2006

Now back to my current predicament...the tacky Christmas sweater party tonight.  As I sit here with a thousand creative ideas running through my head, I can't help but have flashbacks to that crazy sewing all-nighter.  I shudder.   Maybe mom is right.  I've run out of time to pull off something spectacular.  Maybe next year... 

December 2nd, Advent Calendar
Today in our advent box, we'll be singing "O Come, All Ye Faithful," eating chocolate coins from Switzerland, and reading the book "Bear's Christmas Star" by Mireille D'Allance.

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